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2020 Keynote: Dr. William Alba

William Alba headshot

ALISE is excited to announce the 2020 ALISE Annual Conference keynote speaker, William Alba, PhD.

Truth and Trust in 2020

Professionals in library and information science (LIS) education are experts at archiving, organizing, and providing access to knowledge. However, we live during a time when trust in experts is eroded and opinion is conflated with truth.

Dr. Alba will examine these challenges from multiple disciplinary and historical angles. First, other human enterprises, from the everyday to the lofty, endure similar concerns with truth and trust. These include scientific research on numerous topics of public interest, such as climate change, dietary guidelines, and pandemic risks; political discourse with those holding opposing views; and the decision about whether to broadcast our presence to the stars. Second, while the rise of the Internet has complicated judgments of trust and truth, these issues have also concerned prior civilizations, including Greek and Roman societies. Third, recent students from behavioral economics and the history of science can help us understand how contemporary technologies can careen us towards mistrust and confusion, as well as provide some direction on ways to move forward.

There is no silver bullet to resolve problems of truth and trust. Nevertheless, this symphonic review of how others in different areas and over the centuries have handled these matters can assist LIS professionals in taking the fore to navigate these straits.

Meet Dr. Alba

William Alba has more than a quarter-century of experience across higher and secondary education. His areas of expertise include teaching interdisciplinary courses, supporting the transition from high school to college, developing students with exceptional and assorted academic talents, increasing college access for diverse populations, creating opportunities for cross-generational learning, and implementing appropriate uses of educational technology.

At Carnegie Mellon University he has served as the Assistant Dean for Diversity in the Mellon College of Science, Associate Teaching Professor of Chemistry, Director of the Science and Humanities Scholars Program, and Director of the Pre-College Summer Session. Earlier in his career he held faculty and leadership positions with Bard College, St. John’s College (Santa Fe), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Phillips Academy (Andover). At these institutions he built and enhanced programs that support the academic, metacurricular, and residential lives of students; developed and taught courses across diverse disciplines; and collaborated on creative and research projects that span the humanities, engineering, science, and design.

He earned his bachelor's degree at Cornell University and doctoral degree at the University of California, Berkeley.